Joining hands for a world of peace

Tuesday, 2019-05-14 13:58:04
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The 16th UN Day of Vesak Celebrations 2019 in Vietnam gathers more than 1,600 international delegates from 112 countries and territories around the world. (Photo: VNA)
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NDO – The 16th United Nations Day of Vesak Celebrations 2019 took place successfully at the Tam Chuc Buddhist Cultural Complex in the northern Vietnamese province of Ha Nam. Under the theme “Buddhist Approach to Global Leadership & Shared Responsibilities for Sustainable Societies”, the event honoured and called for the promotion of the spiritual values of the Buddha, contributing to bringing peace and stability to the world. Nhan Dan newspaper introduces some opinions of the international delegates at the UN Day of Vesak 2019.

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Under-Secretary General of the UN:

Strengthening connection for sustainable development

Alisjahbana expressed her honour to be in Vietnam for the 16th UN Day of Vesak Celebrations 2019. On the occasion, she emphasised the message of tolerance and social justice. She said the world is witnessing increasingly frequent conflict, stating that people should not be “heartless” concerning this issue. Alisjahbana noted that increased social inequality and extremism have been affecting socio-economic development in many countries, leading the poor to suffer increasing inferiority and to become more vulnerable. She stressed the request for shared responsibilities to deal with the situation, saying that Buddhist teachings encourage people to act for a united world. The UN is always willing to accompany countries to strengthen cooperation and connection for sustainable development, the official affirmed.

Alisjahbana noted that Vietnam has achieved many significant achievements in socio-economic development over recent years, which have been highly appreciated by the international community, partly owing to Vietnam’s enhancement of inclusive and sustainable development. The UN official congratulated Vietnam on its gains, voicing her hopes for the country’s continuous growth in the future.

Most Venerable Prof. Dr. Phra Brahmapundit, President of the International Council for Day of Vesak (ICDV):

Consolidating peace and stability around the world

Most Venerable Phra Brahmapundit expressed his gratitude to the Government and people of Vietnam and the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) for having organised the UN Day of Vesak Celebrations 2019. Vietnam has left positive impressions through its three times hosting the event, he said, recalling that, not long ago, he came to Vietnam and saw a number of works in service of the UN Day of Vesak 2019 that had yet to be finished, but in a short period of time, all the workload had been finalised to serve the event.

The Most Venerable stated that Vietnamese Buddhism is increasingly developing, actively contributing to global Buddhism. The theme of this year’s Vesak event is closely related to the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs), demonstrating Buddhism’s contributions to the development of the world, he noted. The SDGs were built into topics of discussion sessions within the framework of the event, he said, stating that delegates gathered to raise ideas and messages from the Buddhist point of view, aiming to consolidate peace and stability for the world.

Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament:

Sharing responsibilities for a good society

Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu hailed the UN Day of Vesak 2019 as a sacred occasion and an opportunity to contribute to the creation of peace, connecting Buddhists around the world, and promoting the values of Buddha’s teachings, thus working to help the world to avoid violence and conflict and move towards a full and happy life.

He noted that the theme of the 2019 Vesak event on shared responsibilities for sustainable society is appropriate to continue implementing the teachings of the Buddha and to take joint action. The world is discussing and finding solutions to ensure sustainable development, the leader said, stating that the goal could only be achieved if focus was put on protecting justice in society, developing production and consumption in a sustainable way, staying away from “greed, hatred and ignorance”, and promoting peaceful values by effectively applying the Buddha’s thought on kindness, compassion, gratitude, integrity and uprightness.

R. Tuladhar, a Buddhist from Nepal:

Vesak event’s success stems from meticulous preparations

Many ideas during the seminars affirmed that the core values of Buddhism are also reflected through its participation in addressing the common issues of the world, Tuladhar said. He emphasised that promoting the resolution of conflict and ensuring sustainable development is not only the duty of each individual, country and territory, but also needs the joint hands of the whole world. He stressed the need for a global vision and leadership aiming to cope with common challenges.

The Nepalese attributed the success of the 16th UN Day of Vesak Celebrations 2019 to Vietnam’s meticulous and thoughtful preparations. The Vesak 2019 space is very majestic and joyful, he said, hailing Tam Chuc as an ideal place to organise major Buddhist events. Tuladhar said when he returns to Nepal, he will tell his friends and relatives about Vietnam, voicing his belief that many tourists would continue to choose Vietnam as their destination.

R. Thero, a Buddhist from Sri Lanka:

An opportunity to explore Vietnamese culture

The UN Day of Vesak 2019 shows Buddhism’s efforts to integrate and share responsibilities in resolving conflicts and global issues, Thero said, adding that the theme of Vesak 2019 highlights the role of Buddhism and honours Buddhism’s humanistic values.

He praised the organisation work of Vietnam, which, he said, has created favourable conditions for thousands of international delegates.

He expressed his delight to return to Vietnam for the second time, adding that he again feels the hospitality of the Vietnamese people. Thero revealed his plan to experience Dharma practice in Vietnam, as well as visit various famous places in the country and enjoy Vietnamese food after the conclusion of Vesak 2019. The organising committee’s sponsored cultural tours to Trang An-Bai Dinh, Yen Tu and Sapa gave the international delegates a great opportunity to explore Vietnamese landscapes and culture, he said.

A. William, a Buddhist from Australia:

Raising awareness of the environment

William said that, as home to many large Dharma practice centres, Vietnam emerged as a great choice to host the UN Day of Vesak 2019. He hailed Vesak 2019 in Ha Nam province as an ideal opportunity for him to gain more knowledge about Buddhism in a Southeast Asian country. The Australian expressed his impression at Vietnam’s miraculous transformation as well as its hospitable people and enthusiastic volunteers.

Environmental protection was one of the issues discussed by delegates at Vesak 2019. He stressed that it is an essential task to raise awareness of protecting the planet, as environmental pollution and deforestation are threatening people’s lives. William voiced his belief that Vesak 2019 will enable people to instill more of the Buddhist doctrine of being responsible for the environment and living close to nature. He also hailed the event as a good occasion to raise public awareness of environmental issues.

M. Duric, a Buddhist from Serbia:

A top choice for many Buddhists and tourists

Duric said Vietnamese Buddhism has a long history and depth in terms of doctrine and spirituality, stating that the successful organisation of the UN Day of Vesak Celebrations has contributed to improving the role of Vietnamese Buddhism in international integration, as well as affirming Vietnam’s policy of religious freedom. According to him, alongside its significant development achievements and a variety of international languages used in the country, owning a lot of beautiful scenery is also an advantage to help Vietnam to be chosen by the UN to host the Vesak Celebrations.

Ha Nam’s Tam Chuc Pagoda, the hosting venue of Vesak 2019, is one of Vietnam’s prominent landmarks, Duric said, expressing his belief that, after the event, the Southeast Asian country will continue to be known to a great number of people around the world, and will be a top choice for Buddhists and international visitors who want to experience Dharma practice, explore culture and enjoy beautiful sceneries.

G. Efande, a delegate from Cameroon:

Advertising culture and enhancing the country’s position

Efande expressed her satisfaction on her maiden attendance at a Vesak event, noting that the presentations of scholars on the occasion highlighted the ideology and spirit of Buddhism related to many global issues, notably the role of Buddhism in sustainable development, or consumption culture in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Vesak 2019 is also an opportunity for the international community to raise voice against racism, one of the emerging issues over recent times, she said.

The Cameroonian delegate stated that by attending Vesak 2019 in Vietnam, she learned more about Vietnamese people, culture and cuisine, especially its vegetarian food. She said she believed that the hosting of Vesak 2019 would help Vietnam advertise its culture and image, thus improving its position in the world.